I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: healthy isn’t restrictive, healthy isn’t boring, healthy isn’t miserable.
SO before you sit there and tell me that you can’t stay on track with your (healthy) eating habits because it’s “too hard” or because “you miss eating chocolate” or because “you hate vegetables”, I’m calling bullshit.
It’s the New Year, you’ve probably set yourself some goals to get fit, healthy, and eat your veggies. I have made posts regarding how to ease yourself into this new, healthy lifestyle, and how to stay motivated to do so, but I figured I should equip you with some strategies to keep you on track between the “motivation” stage, and the “discipline” stage. (If you’re wondering what on earth the last part of that sentence meant, I would suggest reading my motivation blog post).
Eating well isn’t hard when you stop thinking about it as a diet, and start thinking about it as a life style… I know, I know, how cliche of me, but it’s true. Diets are temporary, a lifestyle is… well… for life.
My first and biggest tip when it comes to eating well… or life in general, is balance. By this I mean: not completely cutting out everything you enjoy ever for the sake of eating “healthy” 24/7. In reality, restricting yourself from everything you love for “healthy” food, isn’t actually healthy at all.
The 80/20 rule is something that you’ve likely heard of before, and it’s a great guideline to follow. 80% of your diet should be good, healthy, wholesome foods, and the other 20% is the room you have to play with the foods that are considered “less healthy” or junky. By following this sort of guideline, it stops the restrictive attitude. The “I can’t eat this because…”. The skipping out on birthday parties because you’ll be too tempted to “binge” on all the unhealthy foods. I’ve been there. Eating “healthy” or restrictive for 5 days then on the 6th day eating every cookie, pint of icecream, bagel, and muffin in the house because I didn’t let myself give into any of my cravings all week and so it overcame me and I ate it all in one go.
Let yourself have a cookie or a bag of chips one day if you’re craving it. Or pizza for dinner if you ate well all day. You have to keep in mind that this is a lifestyle, not a quick fix diet to lose weight quick – so it has to be LIVEABLE.
Ya ya you’ve heard it all before. “Fail to plan, plan to fail”. But it’s true. And no, I don’t mean go all crazy and prep every single meal for the entire week in a Sunday morning cooking extravaganza. I mean buy groceries that are healthy. Make your lunch for work the night before so you don’t say screw it in the morning and go and order Chinese for your midday meal.
I’m the kind of person that preps all my food the night before. I have my dry oats in a saucepan ready to be cooked for breakfast. My sandwich or whatever I’m taking for lunch all prepped. My snacks for the day all laid out. Not only does it help me not reach for junk throughout the day, but it also saves me time in the morning (hello, extra 15mins in bed), AND saves me money because I don’t go out during the day and buy food when I already have groceries in my fridge.
This is probably the most important point of all. You can’t make healthy choices or take time to plan well balanced meals and days of eating if you’re not sure what is “healthy” and what is not. And no, your fave fitness YouTuber/Instagrammer is not the answer here (unless you are aware that they have some education behind the advice they’re giving (think: Layne Norton, etc…)).
Do your research through online peer reviewed research and textbooks. I know this sounds incredibly lame but if it wasn’t for my education and experience, I would be stuck in the mindset that 1200 calories a day was suffice to fuel my body. That 1200 calories a day would help me recompose my body to my “ideal” at the time. Or that I needed 1g protein/lb of body weight to gain muscle.
I know this is kind of a vague point but it is a valid one. Staying on track with your diet/lifestyle isn’t hard when you have the tools to do so.
At the end of the day, it takes motivation to make a change, and willpower and dedication to stay on top of your goals. Without those and some knowledge to back you up, you’re not going to get far. So, if you haven’t already, I would suggest reading by Staying Motivated blog post that I mentioned at the beginning, and diving into some literature to give you that edge.
Until next time